Lemon Drop Cocktail Recipe

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Lemon Drop Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Lemon Drop cocktail is believed to have originated in the 1970s in San Francisco, California. It was created by bartender Norman Jay Hobday at his bar, Henry Africa's. The cocktail was inspired by the classic lemon drop candy and was intended to be a sweet and sour treat for adults. The Lemon Drop gained popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s and remains a popular choice today.

  • Origin: San Francisco, California
  • Creator: Norman Jay Hobday
  • Inspired by: Lemon drop candy

How Lemon Drop Tastes?

The Lemon Drop cocktail is a delightful combination of sweet and sour flavors. The sweetness of the simple syrup balances the tartness of the lemon juice, while the vodka adds a smooth, strong kick. The sugar rim adds an extra touch of sweetness, making this cocktail a refreshing and enjoyable experience.

Interesting facts about Lemon Drop

  • The Lemon Drop is often served as a martini, but can also be enjoyed as a shot.
  • The cocktail is sometimes made with limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, for an extra lemony kick.
  • The Lemon Drop is a popular choice for summer parties and gatherings due to its refreshing taste.


  • Vodka: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Ice: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 1 tbsp
  • Lemon: 1 slice

A few good options for Lemon Drop are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The 2 oz of vodka provide the alcoholic base and kick the cocktail needs without overwhelming the delicate lemon flavor. Too much and you'll be walking sideways, too little and it's lemonade!

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

1 oz of lemon juice gives the Lemon Drop its characteristic tartness and freshness. Skimp on it and the balance tips too sweet; pour liberally and you’ll be puckering up.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

0.5 oz of simple syrup sweetens the deal, smoothing out the tartness of the lemon. Forget it and you’re in sour town, add too much and it's a sugar rush.

Alex Green


1 cup of ice chills the drink, ensuring it's crisp and refreshing. No ice? You're sipping room temp regrets. Too much? That's a watery downer.

Mary Mitkina


1 tbsp of sugar for the rim is the sweet kiss at the start of each sip. It’s like the welcome mat for your taste buds...

Mary Mitkina


A slice of lemon is used for the rim and garnish. It’s both aesthetics and a hint of what’s to come. No lemon slice is like forgetting to dress up for the party!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Lemon Drop Drink

  1. Prepare the glass:
    • Cut a lemon slice and run it around the rim of a martini glass.
    • Dip the rim of the glass in sugar to create a sugar rim.
  2. Make the cocktail:
    • In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz of vodka, 1 oz of lemon juice, and 0.5 oz of simple syrup.
    • Add ice to the shaker and shake well until chilled.
  3. Strain and serve:
    • Strain the cocktail into the prepared martini glass.
    • Garnish with a lemon twist or lemon slice.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving for a refreshing experience.
  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to ensure all ingredients are well combined.

Perfect Pairings


  • Bruschetta: The crisp acidity balances the rich flavors of tomatoes and basil.
  • Shrimp Cocktail: The lemon's zesty notes complement the seafood perfectly.


  • Cheesecake: The tangy lemon in the drink cuts through the creaminess.
  • Lemon Bars: For those who love to double down on citrus delight.


  • Goat Cheese: Its tangy profile pairs well with the Lemon Drop's citrus character.

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What you could change in Lemon Drop

  • Vodka: Can be replaced with gin for a different flavor profile.
  • Simple Syrup: Honey or agave syrup can be used as a natural sweetener.
  • Lemon Juice: Lime juice can be used for a more tart flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with L here

And of course - twists🍹

Raspberry Lemon Drop

  • Add a handful of fresh raspberries to the shaker before adding other ingredients.
  • Muddle gently to infuse the vodka with a berry essence.
  • The taste will be fruitier with a slight berry tang, offering a summery vibe.

Spicy Lemon Drop

  • Infuse your vodka beforehand with a jalapeño pepper for a spicy kick.
  • Shake and serve as usual.
  • This twist comes with a zesty punch that'll play well with the lemon's acidity, dialing up the excitement.

Herbaceous Lemon Drop

  • Add a sprig of fresh thyme or basil to the shaker.
  • Shake well and strain.
  • The herbal notes will provide an earthy contrast to the citrus, making for a sophisticated and complex flavor profile.

In case you forgot basics how to make Lemon Drop

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Lemon Drop

What is the best brand of vodka to use for a Lemon Drop cocktail?

The choice of vodka can greatly influence the taste of your cocktail. Brand selection often comes down to personal preference, but for a Lemon Drop cocktail, you can't go wrong with high-quality, reasonably smooth vodkas like Belvedere, Tito’s, or Grey Goose.

Can Lemon Drop cocktail be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare a big batch of Lemon Drop cocktails ahead of time. However, it's best to add the ice right before serving to maintain the freshness and to prevent dilution of the cocktail.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Lemon Drop cocktail?

Yes, for a mocktail version, simply substitute the vodka with a combination of water and a small amount of vanilla extract to mimic the depth of flavor provided by the vodka.

What's the optimal temperature to serve a Lemon Drop cocktail?

Lemon Drop cocktails are best served chilled, similar to most cocktails. This contrasts with the sweetness and enhances the overall experience.

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